The Transition From Hunters And Gatherers To Agriculturalists.

1190 words - 5 pages

When the question of human progression is asked, a lot comes to mind. Some people look at technological, medical, and professional advances to show signs of human progression. Other people tend to look at diseases and disadvantages associated with human changes and claims that it is not progression if people are being harmed. Before we can state whether or not we, as human beings have progressed, we must define progression. Progress is a moving forward; advancement or development (Webster 1995: 536). This means for progress to be made, we have had to advance from a previous place in time. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages that have occurred through the evolution of mankind. Since the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, human beings have clearly progressed over time.Hunters and gatherers were scattered in small-scale groups, approximately bands of 30-100 people who lived by gathering wild plants and hunting small and large game (Robbins 2006: 41). This subsistent strategy is thought to be the only strategy used for over two million years; until the end of the Paleolithic period. Since hunters and gatherers search for food required mobility, it was not uncommon for them to move every few days (Robbins 2006: 41). Hunters and gatherers lived mobile and very low nutritional lifestyles. The food hunters and gatherers ate hardly made up the "balanced" diet; nothing like the mix of grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products we are accustomed to today (Gadbsy 2004: 66). Within a hunter gatherer community, there was no economic or political structure. Hence, they would live in an egalitarian society because the community was too small.After the Paleolithic period, cultures started to move towards slash-and-burn, or swidden agriculture, in to the Neolithic Revolution. This was the clearing of forests by burning trees and brush and planting crops among the ashes of the cleared ground (Robbins 2006:41). This is also known as the deliberate planting and annual cycle of cultivation (Bellwood 2005:19). Swidden farmers would use the same land for one to three years, and then they would move to another plot and burn that, planting crops once again. Within the transition to the Neolithic Revolution, societies started to integrate formal leadership where certain members assumed the roles of chiefs or elder (Robbins 2006:41). Societies stared to attain armies, occupations, and other different roles to fix the problems that occurred while in the Paleolithic period. Not only did these cultures advance to a society with leadership, they also started an infrastructure with economic and political emphasis, leading to formal governments and social structure.Why hunters and gatherers transitioned into a subsistent agricultural lifestyle is still fully unknown, some historians and anthropologists believe it was due to many different factors. Some reasons this transition happened was believed to be caused by population growth, weather and...

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